For those of us who live to travel, instead of touring Italy, we’ve had lots of pasta nights. I’ve been in this career space for well, let’s say a few decades, and in that time there have certainly been roadblocks inhibiting our movement. Previous outbreaks of swine and bird flu have impacted flights to and from Asia. Zika prevailed in Africa and the Caribbean, triggering cautionary travel and testing upon arrival home. Pervasive fear of flight ensued for nearly 2 years post 9-11. Combine all of these past crises, flight cancellations, complete groundstops and lockdowns, still nothing comes close to Covid’s impact.
To say this past year was a bad one for those with tourism related livelihoods would be an understatement. The airline industry was decimated, reduced to less than 25% capacity at its worst juncture, with thousands of job losses. Local tour operators were shuttered, hotels closed, independent guides, drivers, and hosts, sidelined. Countless fellow professional advisors took early retirement or simply quit, unable to meet expenses with 0 revenue. Representing 10% of global GDP with over 330 million related jobs in Travel and Tourism, this sector has taken a significant hit during the Covid crisis. Yet the travel industry will prevail. It has to. Inevitably, lessons learned will light our future path. As a trip creator and born wanderer, I remain eternally optimistic about where we go from here.
Here’s where we are: Yes, face masks are required on all planes, in airports and virtually in the public areas of many destinations currently accessible, such as Mexico, Caribbean, Costa Rica and some countries in Central America. Yes, negative Covid test results are required to re-enter the US along with a signed Attestation Form. Yes, there are optional health passports to be completed to track said results and forms. Yes, there are still limited activities and dining venues upon arrival due to understaffing. And Yes, passport applications and renewals are still experiencing extensive delays – get that done pronto!
Worried? Don’t be. We’re built to meet challenges, personally and professionally. Our trip design methods have adapted to accommodate every conceivable aspect of travel to insure clients are well prepared and informed. It’s just a few extra steps in the trip process which has already been ameliorated by many, including the hospitality sector. Resorts in Mexico, Costa Rica and beyond stepped up immediately in providing either onsite testing or transportation to test sites. The speed with which staff has been trained to provide these essential guest services is truly astounding. While impressed, I’m not surprised. Resilience, collaboration, and improvisation are hallmarks of the dedicated professionals in this trade.
Having worked for an airline, managed and worked for several travel agencies, I’ve learned travel people are a unique tribe of people pleasers, keen to make connections, whether across town or beyond borders. Advisors, in particular, are highly social creatures who work long hours, seeking to create enduring, spontaneous friendships and long term relationships, personally and digitally. We’re a chatty lot. We find clients in happenstance encounters – in line at a market, post office, food truck, running store, football game, in the offices of doctors or school principals. I’ve struck up convos on planes, boats, trains, Uber drives, handed out my biz cards to fellow air passengers and contractors in my yard. I firmly believe there’s a trip out there on the map for everyone and I’m the conduit to make that happen.
Suffice to say, your next trip is in good hands with a crew of savvy, benevolent people ready to make the process as smooth as possible. As a travel pro, I’m the collaborative captain who charts the course to launch your next journey. Where to?